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Hi I'm Phil

I'm an English professor, a compulsive reader, a film buff, a news junkie, a husband, a father and a grandfather. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I think it must be easier to characterize others than it is to characterize yourself. My students and colleagues never see me without a dress shirt and jacket, so they are often surprised when I talk about working with my horse and goats. I teach film classes, but I frequently turn down invitations to watch films my students recommend because I made a commitment to my children when they were little that I wouldn't watch films that are "R-rated" or otherwise inappropriate, and even though I'm an avid film buff, I'm also a voracious reader, mostly of Victorian fiction or history of any era. I'm an amateur screenwriter (that means I haven't been able to sell one yet), have written numerous essays, and one satiric short story, and I've just had an inspiration for another. Any poetry I've written is nobody's business but my wife's. I adore my wife, idolize our children and am having a great time spoiling our two grandsons. In spite of the trials we've experienced, and we've had our share, I love me life, and I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father and to my Savior, who love me.

Why I am a Mormon

I've been a Mormon from the day I was born. Dad was a convert, but Mom's family was with the Church in the days of the Mormon Pioneers, some of them walking across the American prairie with the heroic Martin Handcart company. But there came a time, when I was about seventeen, when that wasn't good enough, and I had to know for myself. I had to ask my Heavenly Father for a knowledge and testimony of my own, and I received it. I learned for myself that my Father knows and loves me personally, and that Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son. Ultimately, every Mormon has to be converted.

How I live my faith

I'm a teacher. Not many people are lucky enough to get paid to do what they love to do. Every 12 weeks I get to meet about 100 new college students, and I teach them writing and critical thinking. Very few of my students have ever been taught how to scrutinize and critique ideas, so I get to introduce them to logic and classic argumentation, and train them to see through the logical fallacies that are so common in our mass communications. I get to show them that truth exists independent of human perception, and that it can be identified, recognized and often proved by examination. It is very rewarding to see my students discover the 'unused functions' of their own brains. I love to see the lights come on! In the Church, for most of my adult life I've worked with the young men, so I've been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for about 30 years, but currently I'm serving in a different way, as a leadership liaison for the social services of the Church in our area. I work with the employment specialists in eight congregations, training them and facilitating their efforts to help people obtain and improve their employment. I also work in support of our family services specialists, and with the LDS Addiction Recovery Program. As the son and son-in-law of three alcoholic parents, this is a calling that hits home for me. Our society provides more opportunities to pursue addictive substances and behaviors than perhaps at any time in human history. Addiction has the capacity to destroy confidence, careers, reputations, families, and eternal souls. It means so much to provide whatever support I can to these good people who are struggling to overcome difficult challenges and reclaim their lives. I'm grateful to be a part of this particular effort.